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Sally Gibbs off to Italy

Sally Gibbs

Sally Gibbs

World masters running champion Sally Gibbs of Katikati will represent New Zealand at the world mountain running championships, in Ponte di Legno Italy on Sunday.

At 49 Gibbs will start, with similar aged Izabela Zatorska of Poland, as the oldest in the field of 99.

After an outstanding winter of racing, winning the Huntly half marathon in 1h 17m 46s, setting a New Zealand masters marathon record of 2h 41m 15s on the Gold Coast in July, fifth place in the national senior women’s cross country championship and victory in the Waikato Bay of Plenty 10km road championship in 35m 45s Gibbs has now turned her attention to mountain running. Last Sunday she won an international race in the Dolomiti Mountains in Northern Italy.

Gibbs will be joined on the starting line in the women’s championship with fellow representatives Helen Rountree of Hamilton and Anna Frost from Dunedin who is now based in Wales. Rountree won the Mount Maunganui mountain race last December and was third in the New Zealand mountain running championship in April and Frost is the 2009 Commonwealth up hill champion and the 2010 New Zealand champion.

Competition in the race will be strong with 2009 winner Valentina Belotti of Italy and 2010 champion Andrea Mayr of Austria entered.

Last year’s national champion Dougan Butler of Inglewood and 2009 champion Glenn Hughes of Wellington will compete in the senior men’s race, while national junior champion Ryan McAlister of Porirua is the country’s sole representative in the junior men’s event. Hughes was 74th at the 2008 world championship.

New Zealand has a fine record at the world mountain running championships with Jonathan Wyatt, who is the team manager, six times world champion, Melissa Moon twice world women’s champion and Kate McIlroy world women’s champion in 2005 when the championships were held in Wellington.

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